Taliban suicide assault team kills 20 Afghan policemen



A Taliban suicide assault team stormed a police headquarters in the central Afghan province of Logar and killed 20 policemen earlier today. The jihadist group claimed credit for the attack.

The assault on the police headquarters began at lunchtime as one of the suicide bombers “detonated his explosives at the entrance gate,” creating a breach for three other fighters to enter the compound, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

Two of the Taliban fighters attacked the command center while the third detonated his vest at the dining facility. Most of the casualties are said to have taken place at the dining facility. In addition to the 20 policemen killed, another 20 are said to have been wounded.

The Afghan Taliban claimed credit for the attack in an Arabic-language statement that was released on its website, Voice of Jihad, by Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman. The four Taliban fighters were identified as Khalil Rahman from Laghman province, Aziz Rahman from Baghlan, and Mohammed Shafiq and Samiullah from Kabul. The fighters were armed with “light and heavy weapons” as well as “explosive belts” and “hand grenades,” according to Muhajid.

Muhajid said the attack was part of its “Khaibar” (or Khyber) operation, a reference to the Taliban’s offensive that was announced in May 2014. The Taliban vowed to “target all high ranking government officials, cabinet ministers, members of Parliament, security officials, occupation backing officers in the Interior and Foreign Ministries, attorneys and judges that prosecute Mujahideen as well as agents in the National Directorate [Afghan intelligence] that pursue and torture Mujahideen.”

The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using one or more suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic frequently used by the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda and its branches, allied groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and by the rival Islamic State. Suicide assaults are commonly executed by jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

Today’s attack in Logar was preceded by a clash yesterday in Maiwand district in the southern province of Kandahar that resulted in the deaths of six more policemen and an unknown number of Taliban fighters.

Afghan police officers, who are often poorly trained and armed, have been on the front lines against the rising Taliban insurgency as US and European forces ended their combat mission.

The Taliban have hit the police particularly hard as the group stepped up its attacks against Afghan security forces in 2014. Of the estimated 5,000 Afghan security personnel killed in 2014, at least 3,200 were policemen, Karl Ake Roghe, the head of the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan told the Associated Press at the end of 2014.

The high number of casualties for Afghan security personnel “are not sustainable in the long term,” Lieutenant General Joe Anderson, the former deputy commander for the now-disbanded International Security Assistance Force told reporters at a press briefing in early November 2014.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • Dan says:

    Love the new design website, Bill. Much easier to read from.

    Again we see the ANP being attacked with no mention of ANA reaction. Will Afghanistan’s Police Force ever see an improvement in their training and equipment? It appears increasingly like they are the ones on the front-line while the ANA would rather remain behind their walls with “all the gear, and no idea”. Or at least no stomach to get in the fight.

  • vperera says:

    Are the ANP “on the front lines” or are they just low hanging fruit?

  • (I agree. Great new design!)

    It’s heartbreaking to say, but the Taliban WILL come back.

    If the present White House had common sense, it’d realize there’s a Lady MacBeth moment rolling down the line like a freight train. Then again, maybe it doesn’t care about Afghan blood.

  • Dan says:

    p-BM b; Agree somewhat that the Taliban will make a return, but not entirely.

    As the presence and influence of the Islamic State increases, we could see the Taliban regain some popularity purely by default. Although the Afghans do not want the Taliban back in power, they will certainly not welcome IS determining their future.

    If the data pertaining to IS presence in Afghanistan is accurate we may begin to see a shift in operational focus from Kabul/RS against the Talibs toward IS. Further, Kabul may also see a requirement to use the Taliban as proxy forces in the fight against an increasing IS presence.

    However, if IS fails at creating a foothold in Afghanistan I do not see the Taliban making a return as some observers are suggesting, particularly in the populated, urbanised areas.

    With the reported presence of, and sporadic alleged attacks by IS becoming more regular, 2015 is definitely shaping up to be an interesting year in the AfPak region.

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone know if this police station is the one that was attached to FOB Shank. Although Shank has been handed over to ANSF, daring attacks this close to a major installation do not bode well for the Logar province with road access to Kabul and Pakistan.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    The Islamic State is almost always the aggressor against fellow jihadists, but I do not think they are stupid enough to challenge the Taliban toe-to-toe in AfPak. The Taliban have a far better understanding of the way things are there, and they have always been entrenched in the rural areas, even when there was a huge ISAF presence in the country. Afghan news websites report a lot these days about how the Taliban are talking with and making deals with tribes. The Islamic State, however, has a history of always making tribes bow to them. That will not succeed in AfPak.

  • blert says:

    I see some confusion here.

    1) To a surprising degree, the central government of Kabul didn’t want/ doesn’t want these police formations.

    A) What are commonly described in the MSM as ‘police’ formations are, in fact, locally raised, sons-of-the-soil ‘militia’ that are NOT actually in the chain of command by Kabul.

    B) They were launched, and still funded, by the ISAF. (as in the Americans)

    2) The ANA has been, and still is, largely an army composed of Northern boys — NOT Pushtuns.

    A) These ‘police-militia’ are overwhelmingly Pashtun.

    Consequently, the ENTIRE missive, via the MSM, misses the point.

    The sole and only reason that the police-militia is being hit is because it is stationed in the Pasthun lands of the south and south-east.

    [ To mentally get a ‘picture’ of Afghanistan: it’s a ‘Ring’ country. The central core of that nation is a huge, high bulge or mountain massif that is practically a population desert. It’s so high — and dry — that not much can grow or survive there — certainly not year round. You NEVER hear of big fighting on it. It’s such a backwater that the locals, what few there are, conflated the US Army with the Red Army — even though the Red Army had left DECADES earlier!

    Snow melt from this massive supplies the irrigated farms ringing it — around the south especially. The road from Kandahar EXACTLY follows this string of habitations. It’s a strip. Once you travel even further to the south what water there is falls deep into the sand and agriculture becomes hopelessly uneconomic.

    When the Americans provided more $$$$ to the economy, the farmers converted their best land to alternate crops — and then bought ever more Toyota water pumps and gasoline — so as to establish totally new poppy fields on the marginal lands – just south of and adjacent to their original spreads!

    Yes, you scarcely see any of this detailed in the MSM. You’d have to read mil-blogs and ISAF diaries.

    To a large degree — get the idea of an ANA response down in Pashtun land entirely out of your head. It’ll never happen. (Exception, an occasional commando ‘raid’ for PR purposes.)

    At this time, the war has virtually ended up north. What exists are mere skirmishes for Taliban agitprop purposes.

    The main battle space for the ANA is in and around Kabul with some emphasis on their corridor to Pakistan. (Kyber pass)

    The rest of the war, the real fighting, is between two Pashtun factions: the militia-police and the Taliban. The militia-police are always local boys — and they don’t travel far — or travel well.

    Because of Kabul’s resistance (IE the non-Pashtun population up north) weapons have been largely denied for the militia-police.

    This ruinous policy has been impossible to get past — so far. (The Karzai crew was adamant.)

    The grand solution is obvious: issue M-1 semi-automatic rifles like Chicklets. This cheap weapon massively out ranges AK-47s and AK-74s. [ As an aside, most of the purported AK-47s reported by the MSM are at this date AK-74s. They largely look the same. The latter weapon is a blend of the original AK and the American 5.56 bullet. This half-breed is ideal for smaller troops — and cheaper to feed. The Red Army brought it out in 1974 — first for its tank troops. It was first discovered (by Brown, Soldier of Fortune magazine) in — Afghanistan! He gave his to the CIA and wrote it up. Dig through the back copies to find his missive.]

    (The Red Army stopped using the AK-47 decades ago. The price spread between an AK-47 and AK-74 is zilch, the bullets get cheaper.)

    With WWII M-1 rifles and M-1 carbines, the militia-police would have an ECONOMICAL counter weapon to the Taliban. It’s heft is also a great psychological boost, too.

    (M-14s can also be employed.)

    The Taliban is simply not prepared to deal with that many local boys armed with long range semi-automatic weapons. They’d get picked off when distant. Then the locals would simply retreat — pulling the Taliban into a fire-zone/ cross fire.

    After a couple of these fiascoes, the Taliban would be paralyzed. They don’t have gazillion semi-automatic weapons is their supply chain.

    [ The militia-police are known to still use the occasional Enfield, 303 ! ]

  • Knighthawk says:

    “Love the new design website, Bill. Much easier to read from.”

    I find it just the opposite, find it much harder to read, navigate and eye ball things at a glance. I’m sure Bill and co. worked hard on the new design but I really dislike it.


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